Smoky Red Pepper Crema Recipe

Your pasta, sandwiches, tacos, or mashed potatoes will never be the same once you try them with the rich Mexican Smoky Red Pepper Crema. Essentially, Smoky Red Pepper Crema is a crema made with red pepper. 

However, it is a powerful and versatile condiment with a sweet and delicate taste achieved from onions, roasted bell pepper, and olive oil. It is a super healthy addition to any meal, as a side or condiment. 

Today, you’ll learn how to make it since we’ve got the simplest Smoky Red Pepper Crema recipe for you.

How to Make Smoky Red Pepper Crema

The best thing about the Smoky Red Pepper Crema is not only the fact it goes well on a variety of dishes but its simplicity. It calls for simple ingredients that are blended to achieve an excellent accompaniment for chicken or fish.

This crema is a canned product you can find in any Mexican aisle at your local store. However, you can also make it wherever and enjoy the spicy touch it adds to your dishes

Our recipe for your today is a little different from the traditional Mexican red sauces. But it still uses the ingredients you have in your pantry. 

Ingredients:

(1 serving)

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • ½ cup of sour cream
  • ½ tsp of fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • ½ tsp of smoked paprika

Instructions

All you need for the Smoky Red Pepper Crema is roasted red pepper, garlic, salt, and olive oil blended in a food processor. However, it is still more than that. 

The ingredients must then be cooked to remove excess water, making your crema light, smooth, and less watery.

Besides, Smoky Red Pepper Crema could also be adapted to add a different flavor profile or make it vegan.

Now let’s get cooking so you can try this smoky, tangy, creamy, sweet combination with hundreds of uses.

Step 1: 

Roast the pepper—Preheat the oven to 400°F. Then, coat your red bell peppers onto the baking sheets in olive oil. 

Put peppers in the oven and allow them to roast for about 40 minutes. Turning the pepper once halfway through the cooking is vital so it can burn evenly. 

Note: don’t overcook the peppers since they’ll become mushy and lose the flavor they’re supposed to release. Undercooking is also bad for digestion. So try to make it 40 minutes tops.

Step 2: 

Once the pepper is cooked, please remove it from the oven and let it cool for about 10 minutes.

Step 3: 

Cut the pepper into strips with a sharp knife, removing the stems and all the seeds. Put the pepper into the food processor or blender. 

After that, add sour cream, smoked paprika, lemon juice, salt, and other spices

Step 4:

Blend the ingredients until the sauce is completely smooth. Serve immediately or store it for later.

Ingredient Substitution

Due to the versatility of the Smoky Red Pepper Crema, you can play with different types of pepper and add some extra flavors with fresh herbs like cilantro or rosemary. 

Opportunities are limitless as long as you keep experimenting with adding something extra to your Mexican dishes.

We suggest trying these out.

1. Jalapenos

Jalapeno is your best choice if you’re looking for something with more spice and less sweetness. Since jalapenos are a medium-heat spice chili, go for it only if you love spicy food. 

Once you replace roasted red bell pepper in this recipe, it will be a different smoky crema. However, past the heat, jalapenos have the same grassy notes as the green bell peppers. Still, if the heat level is concerned, and you are not a fan of too much heat, use poblano pepper.

2. Coconut milk

To avoid using dairy products in this recipe and make it 100% vegan, you can use coconut milk instead of sour cream. It is the best non-dairy alternative for this roasted red pepper sauce.

Besides, it is an excellent option for lactose intolerant people. Full-fat coconut milk could be skimmed and blended with lemon juice, vinegar, or salt.

3. Apple cider vinegar

Although it’s hard to imagine a more common ingredient than lemon in one’s pantry, don’t worry if you don’t have any on hand for this recipe. 

Apple cider vinegar will cover it even though it doesn’t bring many lemon flavors. It makes up for it in a tang and slightly sweet taste.

What to Serve with Smoky Red Pepper Crema

The popularity of the Smoky Red Pepper Crema does down to its versatility. So you can use it as a dip, dressing, or condiment on anything from pasta sauce and tacos, to stews, tortilla chips, and quesadillas. 

And Mexican-inspired dishes and beyond will ultimately become better with this smoky crema. 

Burrito

Everybody loves burritos because they are loaded with almost anything from seafood to meat and veggies. You can eat them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and pair them with any other dish. 

So it is a great option to enjoy with the Smoky Red Pepper Crema. Spread some on your favorite burrito, or use it as a dip. The first bit will take you straight to the food heaven.

Chicken Chesapeake

The combination of freshness and smoke from the pepper creates a perfect flavor for this crema. It also makes it great for grilling delicious chicken or fish

Chicken Chesapeake is a combo of chicken and crab meat which will combine well with the smoky flavors of the Mexican Crema here. Try pairing these two next time you will like a flavorful chicken with a slight Mexican note.

Dirty Rice

Rice is filling and comforting no matter what you decide to pair with it. Dirty rice is especially delicious when paired with seafood, steaks, or chicken and this Smoky Red Pepper Crema. Don’t say no to it just yet. 

What you need is to sauté each item in a pot before combining it with the cooked rice and crema is required.

How to Store Smoky Red Pepper Crema

The other benefit of the Smoky Red Pepper Crema is that it could be prepared ahead of time and stored for later usage. However, the shelf life varies depending on the ingredients you decide to keep or substitute. 

Store Smoky Red Pepper Crema in the Fridge

Like many homemade sauces, Smoky Red Pepper Crema stores well in the fridge. However, due to the dairy component – sour crema – storage time is reduced to 3-4 days.

Use paper bags or airtight containers to keep this crema in the fridge. Don’t let waste get in during storage, or it will spoil faster. 

Store Smoky Red Pepper Crema in the Freezer

Due to the same dairy component, Smoky Red Pepper Crema might not store well in the freezer. The ingredients might separate or even emulsify, affecting quality and taste. 

You can still freeze this crema; swap the sour cream with Tahiti and some avocado. It will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Put the container into a bowl of tepid water and leave it like this for 30 minutes. Then transfer to the freezer.

smoky red pepper crema

Smoky Red Pepper Crema Recipe

Smoky Red Pepper Crema requires little effort and time, but it turns out light, smoky, and super delicious. It is a Mexican-inspired dish that works perfectly as a dip, condiment, or appetizer. Pair it with any hearty recipe, and you'll get a filling and flavorful meal.
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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Condiment
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 1
Calories 45 kcal
Equipment
  • baking sheet
  • Knife
  • Blender or Food processor
Ingredients
  
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • ½ cup of sour cream
  • ½ tsp of fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • ½ tsp of smoked paprika
Instructions
 
  • Roast the pepper—Preheat the oven to 400°F. Then, coat your red bell peppers onto the baking sheets in olive oil. 
    Put peppers in the oven and allow them to roast for about 40 minutes. Turning the pepper once halfway through the cooking is vital so it can burn evenly. 
    Note: don't overcook the peppers since they'll become mushy and lose the flavor they're supposed to release. Undercooking is also bad for digestion. So try to make it 40 minutes tops.
  • Once the pepper is cooked, please remove it from the oven and let it cool for about 10 minutes.
  • Cut the pepper into strips with a sharp knife, removing the stems and all the seeds. Put the pepper into the food processor or blender. 
    After that, add sour cream, smoked paprika, lemon juice, salt, and other spices
  • Blend the ingredients until the sauce is completely smooth. Serve immediately or store it for later.
Nutrition
Calories: 45kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 2gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0.5gFiber: 1gSugar: 1g
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